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(2015 - Spring/Summer Issue)


The storied homes of Canada’s Governor General transport visitors into a world of ballrooms and staterooms, splendour and spectacle.

As the Queen’s representative and the country’s commander-in-chief, Canada’s Governor General lives and works at these historic residences. Both Rideau Hall in Ottawa and Québec City’s Citadelle of Québec are stately residences that reflect the personality of the country and its people through unique architecture, original art and extensive gardens. Home to 28 Governors General since Confederation, they are also places where Canada’s highest honours for outstanding civilian and military service are presented and where dignitaries are welcomed.

While the private quarters are home to Their Excellencies the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, and Mrs. Sharon Johnston as well as visiting heads of state, the public areas serve as venues for everything from formal state events to guided tours of the residence and educational children’s programs. Rideau Hall’s 32-hectare estate boasts more than 10,000 trees, some planted by heads of state from around the world, including John F. Kennedy, Mikhail Gorbachev and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Originally modelled in English country style, the grounds have evolved over 177 years into an important statement of Canadiana, boasting symbols such as an Inukshuk, a totem pole and a heritage rose garden.

The 15-hectare complex of La Citadelle is a National Historic Site of Canada that sits high atop Cape Diamant overlooking the St. Lawrence River. Since it is an active military base as well as a residence, all tours are guided. Guests can view the official state rooms where the Governor General greets visiting dignitaries, then add a visit to La Citadelle itself and learn about Canada’s military history.

Special Events

A popular event at both historic sites is the daily pageantry of the Ceremonial Guard, where sentries in colourful garb march to their posts. At Rideau Hall, special events this summer include children’s storytime on weekends from June 27–August 22. From January to March, visitors can skate on the rink built in 1872 by Lord Dufferin, Canada’s third Governor General.

At La Citadelle, children can become knights and princesses for a day in July and August through the Heralds and Heroes program, and discover the fascinating world of heraldry—the science of coats of arms. During select months, school groups can explore the state rooms “On His Excellency’s Secret Service.”

Travel Planner

Rideau Hall is open to visitors year-round; La Citadelle from April to October. Tours and other activities are free. For more information or to book a tour, visit gg.ca/visitus.

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